As Paterson tries to shake off the devastating head shot of having its mayor go down on corruption charges, and various candidates continue to circulate in advance of next year’s scheduled citywide contest, two men could be seen in the vicinity of a certain powerful Paterson personage.
They were Bill Pascrell III, son of U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) and Kenyatta Stewart, the corporation counsel of the City of Newark, who emerged in recent days as a potential 2018 mayoral candidate.
Stewart showed up in range of the elder Pascrell at BP3’s shoulder, renewing Silk City buzz about the potential for Kenyatta to take a crack at the mayoralty in 2018. There’s continuing talk about how Passaic County Democratic Committee Chair John Currie wouldn’t mind rebranding himself countywide with a big local win after body surfing the statewide torrents that go along with serving as state party chair. It would make sense to start in Paterson.
So Stewart is doing the power walk.
InsiderNJ can’t report how that went, but the last man to have the party establishment lined up behind him, Ward 6 Councilman Andre Sayegh, fell short to doomed Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in 2014. Sayegh hasn’t ruled out a run next year. But neither has Passaic County Freeholder Assad Ahkter. Both are former Pascrell staffers who remain close to the congressman. If Stewart runs with the backing of Currie and Pascrell, those Pascrell-schooled brands would have to look hard at whether they want to run themselves, or fold into Stewart; particularly if Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) – an enduring citywide big vote-getter – backs Stewart.
The play with Stewart, presumably, would be to coalesce African-American support as the two big candidates in the race right now, former Deputy Mayor Pedro Rodriguez and At-Large Councilman Alex Mendez, both Domincans, knock each other off. Ward Councilman Bill McCoy is already in the race, which could complicate matters for Stewart – and Councilman Mike Jackson is said to want to run, and he too could pose another challenge for Stewart.